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Samizdata quote of the day – the Ministry of Contradictions

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is a bit like having a department tasked with increasing alcohol consumption and sobriety.

– Commenter Bell Curve, over a beer or three.

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – the Ministry of Contradictions

  • A lowly, lowly cook

    It just occurred to me that it’s quite the coincidence that the cost vs benefit of lowering CO2 emissions is maximized just at zero. Of all the numbers.

    On second thought, I’d better quash this line of argument because if someone explained the concept of negative numbers to these simpletons we’d be in even worse trouble.

  • J

    Dr. Zaius, the antagonist in the original Planet of the Apes had the title of Minister of Science and Defender of the Faith. I often recall that title when someone mentions an agency with conflicting messages. Sort of in the managerial, “Everything is Top Priority!” sense. Something is going to have to give

  • Kirk

    One of the markers of how dysfunctional the modern “elite” is would be their total inability to prioritize much of anything.

    Working for these people is a freakin’ nightmare; they tell you that they need X, Y, and Z done in a set period, when you can only do one or two of them. You ask which they want prioritized, and they’re like “All of them!!!”

    Uh… Did I not just tell you that there’s a finite set of resources to work with, here? Can you comprehend that, Sparky?

    It’s amazing what comes out of their mouths, when you ask for a decision. They can’t make them; “Do it all!!! It has to happen!!!” does not work, and when it blows up, they’re usually blaming everyone but themselves.

    There’s something in the water at the universities and educational facilities. What, I don’t know, but… Man, has this become all too prevalent.

    If I had to speculate, I think it stems from the way everyone is moved laterally into authority from the outside, after an “education” in the academy. Unlike the dreary old days, nobody is moving up to CEO from the loading docks, and because of that, they’ve no earthly idea how things work at the coalfaces of the institution or company. Amazing to observe, that…

    I think that the case for “We’re doing leadership and elite selection wrong…” is pretty much incontrovertible and well-made by the observable facts around us. None of the idiots we’ve mistakenly set in charge seem to comprehend cause-and-effect, or possess a whit of common sense.

  • Roué le Jour

    IIRC, the Bank of England is tasked with controlling inflation and reducing unemployment, the police are tasked with reducing crime and maintaining community harmony. In both cases these requirements are diametrically opposed. This gives the organization complete freedom of action. e.g. “Why did you arrest that man?” “He broke the law.” “Why didn’t you arrest that man?” “To maintain community harmony.”

  • DiscoveredJoys

    But this is a feature, not a bug.

    How many times have we seen that the mechanics of Government work as applying the brakes and tromping on the accelerator at the same time? Consider the housing ‘crisis’ – an example of the impetus to build running against the restraint of the Town and Country Planning Acts. Spending more money on the NHS to deliver health care – but recruiting more non-health care workers to control expenditure. Vowing to stop illegal immigration but affording the immigrants every opportunity to stay. You could argue that this tension is ‘creative’ and a way of resolving policies… but resolution never comes.

    The only noteworthy thing about the title of “The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero” is that it is openly stated rather than ‘lost’ in the games of the Senior Civil Service. Clearly the Establishment doesn’t even care for how it looks any more.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Just to be pedantic: that is more like a department tasked with ensuring that plenty of booze is available, but nobody drinks it.

    As for the examples given by RlJ:
    The first is a trade-off — a false trade-off, in my opinion, but there is room for disagreement.
    The second depends on what one means by ‘community harmony’. It seems to me that reducing crime always increases community harmony, in the commonsense understanding of ‘community harmony’. But the commonsense of British police can no longer be relied upon.

  • X Trapnel

    There was a Woody Allen joke in, I think, Annie Hall, which went something like:

    Two old ladies in a Catskills Mountain resort… one says “the food in here’s terrible” and the other replies “I know – and such small portions”.

    In which spirit, says the government, we’d better stop digging for oil and gas because it’s bad for the environment – and because if we don’t we might run out of it. Life’s contradictions.

  • Druid144

    Hi, lowly, lowly cook. I’m with you not to befuddle the beasties with negative numbers, but they seem all to familiar with imaginary numbers. i rules orthoganally.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes indeed – the aims of this department “energy security and Net Zero” are in contradiction.

    The Prime Minister, on many matters, believes that he can have things that are in contradiction – and the Gentleman is mistaken.

    As the old saying has it – “you can not have your cake, and eat it as well”, if you eat the cake the cake is gone.